UPDATED 10PM: A government department's spending on a Christmas party has been labelled as unbelievable.
The Labour Party said the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment overspent on its already excessive budget of $20,000 for the event.
The party's economic development spokesman David Clark said minister Steven Joyce should step up and apologise to taxpayers.
"They spent 2800 bucks on props and repairs. It was a pretty lavish function and I doubt many small business people around New Zealand would understand their taxes going on a $20,000-plus Christmas function.
"It is embarrassing that he has overseen so many budget blow outs in so many different areas, and it's embarrassing that he allows the budgets to be so generous in the first place."
However, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the MBIE CEO has tightened controls on expenditure after acknowledging there was some discretionary expenditure that was inappropriate in the 2014/15 year.
The minister said while the items documented were disappointing, MBIE has saved the taxpayer $9.5 million a year on the cost of the four previous agencies.
He said the approach the agency is taking to Christmas functions this year seems sensible.